Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Holy Smile, Batman!

Yes indeedy, my friends, Lady Grace has rewarded me with 2 big'uns today. A very gummy grin with her blue eyes twinkling while her whole face lit up... her FIRST SMILE! Genius - who would have thought a smile from a baby would put me on cloud nine in an instant? Now to prove it to the WIND CYNICS. I am on standby with the camera, and I will capture this elusive smile even if it does mean camping out in front of the Jungle Gym without blinking for hours on end. Watch this space!

(UPDATE - Smile No.3 captured in the kitchen on 22nd Sept while Grace was hanging out in her rocker watching Mummy dust the wine rack).

Saturday, 18 September 2010

My Watchdog rant!

Where's Ann Robinson when you need her? The story goes that a tired and frustrated first-time Mum wanted a magic wand to send the baby to sleep. Scouring the web for inspiration, I ordered a CD called The Mozart Effect which claims to send babies to sleep with calming music. When it arrives I'll tell you if it works. That isn't my gripe - that lies with the other CD I ordered in good faith, and being called Beethoven for Babies - Brain training for little ones, please tell me I'm not off the mark for expecting the thing to be, well, Beethoven.

So it arrived this morning and I'm immediately confused. Reading the set list I scratch my head and read the small print. "Beethoven for babies invites little ones to stretch their mental muscles..." (good so far) "...with gentle love songs..." (doubt creaps in) "...graceful minuets..." (reined back in by this classical reference, but then comes crashing down by-) "...jolly country dances and beloved Scottish, Irish and Welsh lullabies."

Scratching my head I'm reading it again and looking at the cover utterly perplexed. I wonder idly if I have it wrong and its been put together by a musical upstart called Beth Oven. I doubt it. I haven't listened to it yet, but I know old Ludwig was German, so I do wonder how he ended up writing a piece called Chiling O'Guirg which is clearly Irish. Figures.

I'm smiling now. I know old Ludwig was a versatile chap, and he did actually compose all these pieces. It just tickled me in the moment and I thought a smile this week is worth noting!

A month into my new job...

My word, my new boss is a ball braker. I thought Kev cracked the whip but even he pales in significance compared to Lady Grace. Who would have thought that something so tiny would be so demanding and take up so much of my time? I'm hoping by the time I reach six months in my new post as Mummy I get a good appraisal as at the moment I'm struggling to adjust to the all-consuming nature of this job I signed up for. I've ummed and arred about being honest about my feelings on here in the public domain but I figure getting it off my chest is a step in the right direction to processing how I feel and beginning to deal with saying goodbye to life as I knew it and hello to the future which started already one month ago.

Time has really flown- ONE MONTH OLD - Grace has passed her first milestone and it really does seem she has been here much much longer. This marker in her development has seen her graduate into Size 2 nappies, continue to thrive putting on ounce after ounce with little effort, and begin to show some real strength in the control of her head and neck muscles. This 5th week has seen some considerable change in the amount of time she is spending awake in between naps and she is becoming more content amusing herself under her play gym or on the mat looking at a colourful book or toy. My personal fave is the stuffed giraffe that plays a tune from The Sound of Music... I can't wait to teach her the words! I'm on tenterhooks waiting for her first smile... my first feedback that I'm not actually doing that bad a job at all.

Last weekend saw us reuniting with the ante-natal group now that we have all had our babies. Only baby Eleanor is younger in the group, with Toby and Amelia being the oldest at 11 weeks, so we took much comfort from the reassurance from Mums Emma and Leona that it does get easier. I'm holding onto that promise for dear life!

I did take some strength from the group in that Thursday saw us being brave enough to tackle public transport for the first time - getting the train into Leeds for a spot of window shopping and to pop into the Bank to let Grace meet her Daddy's work mates. I'm proud of the fact I only had one notable panic attack trying to navigate the train station in rush hour while Matt the Husband prattled on about the pros and cons of investing in this child trust find as opposed to that child trust fund while chomping on a banana and telling me I'm being irrational about worrying so much. So amazed that I avoided the profanities with Grace within earshot! We do love him really. (That's me and my neurotic other self, of course).

Grace having a swift half at the milk bar

One last thing. Grace's favourite thing this week, that seemed to keep her amused and content - her first trip to a country pub, The Horse & Jockey on the Sandstone Trail in Shropshire. There she met up with my Godmother Jennifer and her husband Stephen who delighted being introduced to Grace for the first time, along with my sister Bunny and her better half Steve on their way back from holidaying in Wales with the Aged P's (who were also in tow). Much amused to have my Dad consider that his Sat Nav might go out of signal from the satellite because he was driving so fast that it couldn't keep up with him. This from the man who drives no faster than 56mph to get optimal miles per gallon. Hilarious!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Week 4

Play time with Mummy

Grace and I ventured out with the buggy on our own this week to the Childrens Centre in the village. We met other new Mums and their babies, and I hope over time we will make some friends. While we were there Maggie our health visitor weighed Grace and we're proud that she is clearly thriving - having gained a further 11oz this week. No wonder her clothes are getting snug! It felt good to get out for some chat and fresh air and I kick myself that we haven't made the effort to get out more. Still, only 2 weeks until I get my wheels again so we can get out onto familiar turf.

A downside to this healthy growth Grace is experiencing is waste - we're already accumulating a pile of clothes she has outgrown which is such a pity as many of them she has worn only once. In addition to this we've just been to Mothercare to return items she has outgrown that she hasn't even had the pleasure of wearing. We are very lucky to have so much choice of wardrobe for her - I am positively green with envy. My post-natal wardrobe is restricted to comfy trackies and maternity jeans as my incision site is still tender. I'm looking forward to the green light from the doctor at my 6 week check so I can get back into some form of exercise again. Not long now!

We've been lucky to be blessed with visitors to keep us occupied while I am still confined to the village. Kevin my old boss, Wendy our friend & dog advisor (!), and Christina my bump buddy who came for lunch with her little boy Dimitris (now 5 weeks) and Auntie Mina. Daisy-woof also had visitors this week (bless her) by the Scanlons who brought Val's puppy Nig over for a run around in the garden. Is it wrong to say i felt broody for another puppy?!

Grace [burping] with Auntie Christina

Grace is still enjoying her fame and we're getting more confident with day to day life and the trials it brings. I confess I am still very much in the adjustment phase, reluctant to let go of my old ways to make the transition to being a new Mum. But we're making progress and we're slowly getting to grips with 'letting go' - taking things day by day and trying not to beat myself up over the small stuff. I have always been guilty of sweating the small stuff.

Grace showing off her head control!

Grace has been a big girl this week - experiencing her first manicure (she enjoyed it, I was petrified), and learning to bat her eyelashes that have sprouted in a matter of days. She is now showing greater strength in control of her head, which she frequently holds clear of the floor when she lays on her front. And she has also managed to roll from her front onto her back for the first time this week. We're very proud!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Week 3

So let me set the record straight. Grace is a mere 3 weeks and 3 hours old as I write this and she already has a bigger social network than my pocket filofax can keep tabs on. Rising socialite, famous for being a baby, Grace is on everyones guest list and we're getting more invites than there are days in the week. I'm pooped trying to keep up with it all.

So this week then, the one I say has been so busy. Well, Grace had her first trip to the seaside where we spent the day with Donna and her family braving the British bank holiday weather at Bridlington. Beautiful sunshine one moment, then rain with winds high enough to carry the Quinny over a cliff if I let go the next. Good fish n chips though, perhaps worth getting the wind buffed scarecrow hair for.

A wind swept Daddy in Bridlington.

We've had a visit from our friend Grace and her daughter Ava, incidentally born on the same day as our Grace. Sheli came to see us for a jaunt around the village with the Quinny, and we were also peppered with visits from the midwife and health visitor. Of course Grandma Mary and Great Grandma Fran got another look in, and Grace enjoyed meeting Great Grandma Betty for the first time. Not visits, but fan mail also came from far flung corners of the UK, Hastings and Wales, not to mention air mail from Down Under. She is a popular lass.

A sneaky pic of Grace gazing at her Rainbow Book.

As memories of the birth experience and recovery period begin to wane, I'm beginning to get to grips with my new job. FULL TIME MOTHER. It's tiring, there are no scheduled breaks, and I can't even take time out to nip for a quick can of diet coke when the boss isn't looking... she's always there. What's more, the boss, Lady Grace as she's becoming known, is a hard task master. She chops and changes her preferences leaving me trying my best to meet her needs but sometimes falling short of the keep-the-baby-from-crying mark. I joke, and I do love the little mite, but from somebody so retentive in keeping an orderly and organised life pre-baby, the shock to the system from this to being a wing-it Mother, has been like a slap around the chops with a rubber turkey.

Grace after her bath.

Matt the Husband is back to work. I am alone with a baby and it's peaceful. He's figured out that singing helps soothe her to sleep. Good for Grace - I'm glad it works, but my ears are bleeding! Great musician... terrible vocalist.

Key developments this week?
She can definitely move her head more this week - right up and from one side to another when she is laid on her belly. And she is starting to follow the sound of a voice with her eyes. She can also fart REALLY loud. She obviously has a Roberts bottom - for this I am clearly very proud, a family legacy at last.

Daisy-woof, finally moved into her own room...

That's it. She's been quiet enough for half hour for me to write this, I'm off to see if I get through dinner in one sitting.